Migrant caravan moves on to central Mexico city of Irapuato
By MARCO UGARTE and YESICA FISCH
Monday, November 12
IRAPUATO, Mexico (AP) — Local Mexican officials again helped thousands of Central American migrants find rides Sunday on the latest leg of their journey toward the U.S. border.
At a toll plaza to the west of the central Mexico city of Queretaro, where the group spent Saturday night, police prevented migrants from waylaying trucks on their own, but officers did help them find vehicles for rides.
The government of Queretaro said via Twitter that 6,531 migrants had moved through the state between Friday and Saturday. It said that 5,771 of those departed Sunday morning after staying in three shelters it had prepared, the largest of which was a soccer stadium in the state capital.
Those numbers appeared even higher than counts made by officials when the group was in Mexico City for several days, raising the possibility that other migrants had caught up to the main caravan.
Starting out before dawn, the migrants went on to Irapuato, an agricultural city about 62 miles (100 kilometers) to the west in neighboring Guanajuato state, and set up camp around a local family center and small sports complex.
As on other days, the migrants jumped at any opportunity to catch rides. They piled onto flatbed trucks, hung from car carrier trailers and even stacked themselves four levels high on a truck that usually carries pigs.
Miguel Ortiz of Honduras reclined in the pig trailer with his wife and son. He said they were headed to U.S. for a better life where they could work for more than just putting food on the table.
Maria Isabel Reyes, 39, of Honduras travelled with her three daughters and a granddaughter.
“I feel happy by the grace of God,” she said. “Because we’re advancing little by little, but all of us here are moving forward.”
The migrants appear to be on a path toward Tijuana across the border from San Diego, which is still some 1,600 miles (2,575 kilometers) away.
The caravan became a campaign issue in U.S. midterm elections and U.S. President Donald Trump has ordered the deployment of over 5,000 military troops to the border to fend off the migrants. Trump has insinuated without proof that there are criminals or even terrorists in the group.
Many migrants say they are fleeing rampant poverty, gang violence and political instability primarily in the Central American countries of Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua, and they have now been on the road for weeks.
Mexico has offered refuge, asylum or work visas to the migrants, and its government said 2,697 temporary visas had been issued to individuals and families to cover them while they wait for the 45-day application process for a more permanent status.
But most vowed to continue to the United States.
“We can earn more (in the U.S.) and give something to our family. But there (in Honduras) even when we want to give something to our children, we can’t because the little we earn it’s just for food, to pay the house and the light, nothing else,” said Nubia Morazan, 28, of Honduras as she prepared to set out Sunday with her husband and two children.
Associated Press writer Christopher Sherman in Mexico City contributed to this report.
Veterans have fought in wars – and fought against them
November 8, 2018
Professor of Sociology and Gender Studies, University of Southern California – Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences
Michael Messner does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
Partners: University of Southern California — Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences provides funding as a member of The Conversation US.
If President Donald Trump had his way, the nation would be celebrating the centennial of the World War I armistice on Nov. 11 with a massive military parade in Washington, D.C.
But that won’t be happening. When the Pentagon announced the president’s decision to cancel the parade, they blamed local politicians for driving up the cost of the proposed event.
There may have been other reasons.
Veterans were especially outspoken in their opposition. Retired generals and admirals feared such a demonstration would embarrass the U.S., placing the nation in the company of small-time authoritarian regimes that regularly parade their tanks and missiles as demonstrations of their military might. And some veterans’ organizations opposed the parade because they saw it as a celebration of militarism and war.
Veterans of past wars, as I document in my book “Guys Like Me: Five Wars, Five Veterans for Peace” have long been at the forefront of peace advocacy in the United States.
Over the past year, the advocacy group Veterans for Peace joined a coalition of 187 organizations that sought to “Stop the Military Parade; Reclaim Armistice Day.” There is a deep history to veterans’ peace advocacy.
As a young boy, I got my first hint of veterans’ aversion to war from my grandfather, a World War I Army veteran. Just the mention of Veterans Day could trigger a burst of anger that “the damned politicians” had betrayed veterans of “The Great War.”
In 1954 Armistice Day was renamed as Veterans Day. In previous years, citizens in the U.S. and around the world celebrated the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 not simply as the moment that war ended, but also as the dawning of a lasting peace.
“They told us it was ‘The War to End All Wars,’” my grandfather said to me. “And we believed that.”
Veterans for peace
What my grandfather spoke about so forcefully was not an idle dream. In fact, a mass movement for peace had pressed the U.S. government, in 1928, to sign the Kellogg-Briand Pact, an international “Treaty for the Renunciation of War,” sponsored by the United States and France and subsequently signed by most of the nations of the world.
A State Department historian described the agreement this way: “In the final version of the pact, they agreed upon two clauses: the first outlawed war as an instrument of national policy and the second called upon signatories to settle their disputes by peaceful means.”
The pact did not end war, of course. Within a decade, another global war would erupt. But at the time, the pact articulated the sentiments of ordinary citizens, including World War I veterans and organizations like the Veterans of Foreign Wars, who during the late 1930s opposed U.S. entry into the deepening European conflicts.
In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the law changing the name of the holiday to Veterans Day, to include veterans of World War II and Korea.
For my grandfather, the name change symbolically punctuated the repudiation of the dream of lasting peace. Hope evaporated, replaced with the ugly reality that politicians would continue to find reasons to send American boys – “guys like me,” as he put it – to fight and die in wars.
World War I, like subsequent wars, incubated a generation of veterans committed to preventing such future horrors for their sons.
From working-class army combat veterans like my grandfather to retired generals like Smedley Butler – who wrote and delivered public speeches arguing that “war is a racket,” benefiting only the economic interests of ruling-class industrialists – World War I veterans spoke out to prevent future wars. And veterans of subsequent wars continue speaking out today.
There have been six U.S. presidents since my grandfather’s death in early 1981 – Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump – and each committed U.S. military forces to overt or covert wars around the world.
Most of these wars, large or small, have been met with opposition from veterans’ peace groups. In the 1960s and early 1970s, Vietnam Veterans Against the War was a powerful force in the popular opposition to the American war in Vietnam. And Veterans for Peace, along with About Face: Veterans Against the War remain outspoken against America’s militarism and participation in wars in the Middle East and elsewhere.
Were he alive today, I believe my grandfather would surely express indignation that American leaders continue to send the young to fight and die in wars throughout the world.
Still, I like to imagine my grandfather smiling had he lived to witness some of the activities that will take place this Nov. 11: Veterans for Peace joins other peace organizations in Washington, D.C. and in cities around the U.S. and the world, marching behind banners that read “Observe Armistice Day, Wage Peace!”
Palestinians launch dozens of rockets into Israel after raid
By FARES AKRAM and TIA GOLDENBERG
Monday, November 12
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Palestinian militants on Monday fired dozens of rockets and mortar shells into southern Israel, critically wounding an Israeli teen in what appeared to be an act of revenge after a deadly undercover Israeli military raid the day before.
The Israeli military responded by dispatching fighter jets to strike “terror targets” throughout the Gaza Strip, in what was shaping up to be one of the most serious rounds of fighting since the devastating 2014 Gaza war.
The botched Israeli raid in Gaza the day before left seven Palestinian militants and an Israeli officer dead. The violence has thrown into doubt a series of informal understandings reached in recent days aimed at lowering tensions between Israel and Hamas.
In Gaza, the sky lit up with outgoing rocket fire. The Israeli military said at least 80 rockets were launched toward Israel. Its Iron Dome rocket defense system intercepted some of the rockets, but a few slipped through. Israeli TV showed images of a building on fire in a shopping center in the southern town of Sderot.
In the most serious strike, a mortar shell struck an Israeli bus, critically wounding a 19-year-old man. Israeli media reported five other people wounded.
The ruling Hamas militant group, and the smaller Islamic Jihad group, claimed responsibility for the rocket fire in a joint statement.
Islamic Jihad spokesman Daoud Shehab said the groups decided to retaliate for the deadly Israeli incursion “so the occupation and its supporters know that the lives of our sons come with a price.”
Air raid sirens continued to sound throughout southern Israel, as well as in nearby areas of the West Bank.
Earlier Monday, thousands of mourners buried the seven militants killed in Sunday’s incursion. Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh led a funeral as masked gunmen in uniforms carried coffins draped in the flag of Hamas’ armed wing and mourners chanted “revenge.”
Hamas, the militant group that has ruled Gaza since 2007, launched a feverish security sweep across the territory, setting up checkpoints across the territory in a show of force after what appeared to be a major security breach for the militant group. It also restricted movement through crossings with Israel, preventing foreign journalists, local businessmen and some aid workers from leaving the territory.
Hamas also canceled a weekly beach protest in northwestern Gaza along the border with Israel. The organizers cited “the ongoing security situation.”
Hamas said Israeli undercover forces entered the territory in a civilian vehicle late Sunday and exchanged fire with Hamas gunmen. The clashes killed an Israeli lieutenant colonel and prompted Israeli airstrikes and a salvo of rocket fire from Gaza toward Israel.
The cross-border fighting came just days after Israel and Hamas reached indirect understandings, backed by Qatar and Egypt, to allow cash and fuel into Gaza. The understandings are meant to be part of a broader effort to alleviate deteriorating conditions in the impoverished territory after 11 years of an Israeli-Egyptian blockade.
It was not clear if the outbreak of violence would derail those arrangements.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cut short a visit to Paris because of the flare-up and returned to Israel on Monday for consultations with top security officials.
The Hamas military wing, Izzedine al-Qassam, said that in Sunday’s incursion, Israeli undercover forces drove about 3 kilometers (2 miles) into southeastern Gaza and shot and killed Nour el-Deen Baraka, a mid-level commander in charge of a sensitive area in the southern Gaza Strip town of Khan Younis. Qassam members discovered the car and chased it, prompting Israeli airstrikes that killed several people, the group said.
The military provided few details about the reason for Sunday’s raid. The Israeli military chief, Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, said a “special force” carried out “a very meaningful operation to Israel’s security,” without elaborating.
Israeli military spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said the operation was “not intended to kill or abduct terrorists but to strengthen Israeli security.” He said the force faced a “very complex battle” and was able to “ex-filtrate in its entirety.”
In a tweet after his arrival back home, Netanyahu praised the slain officer, whose identity was being kept confidential for security reasons, and said “our forces acted courageously.” The officer’s funeral was held Monday.
The overnight violence came after several months of confrontations along the Israel-Gaza perimeter fence. Since late March, Hamas has been leading mass marches, with turnout driven by growing despair in Gaza, to try to break the border blockade. The blockade has led to over 50 percent unemployment and chronic power outages, and prevents the vast majority of Gazans from traveling.
More than 170 demonstrators, most unarmed, have been killed by Israeli army fire in the confrontations, in which some of the participants threw stones, burned tires or hurled grenades toward Israeli forces.
Israel says it is defending its border against militant infiltrations, but its army has come under international criticism because of the large number of unarmed protesters who have been shot.
Last week, Israel allowed Qatar to deliver $15 million in aid to Gaza’s cash-strapped Hamas rulers. Hamas responded by lowering the intensity of the border protest last Friday.
On Sunday, Netanyahu defended his decision to allow through the Qatari cash to Gaza as a way to avert an “unnecessary war,” maintain quiet for residents of southern Israel and prevent a humanitarian catastrophe in the impoverished Gaza Strip.
Associated Press writer Angela Charlton in Paris contributed to this report.
How should World War I be taught in American schools?
Updated November 9, 2018
Associate Professor, Michigan State University
Kyle Greenwalt does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
Partners: Michigan State University provides funding as a founding partner of The Conversation US.
The centennial of the end of World War I is reminding Americans of a conflict that is rarely mentioned these days.
In Hungary, for example, World War I is often remembered for the Treaty of Trianon, a peace treaty that ended Hungarian involvement in the war and cost Hungary two-thirds of its territory. The treaty continues to be a source of outrage for Hungarian nationalists.
In the United States, by contrast, the war is primarily remembered in a positive light. President Woodrow Wilson intervened on the side of the victors, using idealistic language about making the world “safe for democracy.” The United States lost relatively few soldiers in comparison to other nations.
As a professor of social studies education, I’ve noticed that the way in which “the war to end war” is taught in American classrooms has a lot to do with what we think it means to be an American today.
As one of the first wars fought on a truly global scale, World War I is taught in two different courses, with two different missions: U.S. history courses and world history courses. Two versions of World War I emerge in these two courses – and they tell us as much about the present as they do about the past.
WWI: National history
In an academic sense, history is not simply the past, but the tools we use to study it – it is the process of historical inquiry. Over the course of the discipline’s development, the study of history became deeply entangled with the study of nations. It became “partitioned”: American history, French history, Chinese history.
This way of dividing the past reinforces ideas of who a people are and what they stand for. In the U.S., our national historical narrative has often been taught to schoolchildren as one where more and more Americans gain more and more rights and opportunities. The goal of teaching American history has long been the creation of citizens who are loyal to this narrative and are willing to take action to support it.
When history is taught in this way, teachers and students can easily draw boundaries between “us” and “them.” There is a clear line between domestic and foreign policy. Some historians have criticized this view of the nation as a natural container for the events of the past.
When students are taught this nationalist view of the past, it’s possible to see the United States and its relationship to World War I in a particular light. Initially an outsider to World War I, the United States would join only when provoked by Germany. U.S. intervention was justified in terms of making the world safe for democracy. American demands for peace were largely based on altruistic motives.
When taught in this manner, World War I signals the arrival of the United States on the global stage – as defenders of democracy and agents for global peace.
WWI: World history
World history is a relatively new area of study in the field of historical inquiry, gaining particular ground in the 1980s. Its addition to the curriculum of American schools is even more recent.
The world history curriculum has tended to focus on the ways in which economic, cultural and technological processes have led to increasingly close global interconnections. As a classic example, a study of the Silk Road reveals the ways in which goods (like horses), ideas (like Buddhism), plants (like bread wheat) and diseases (like plague) were spread across larger and larger areas of the globe.
World history curricula do not deny the importance of nations, but neither do they assume that nation-states are the primary actors on the historical stage. Rather, it is the processes themselves – trade, war, cultural diffusion – that often take center stage in the story. The line between “domestic” and “foreign” – “us” and “them” – is blurred in such examples.
When the work of world historians is incorporated into the school curriculum, the stated goal is most often global understanding. In the case of World War I, it’s possible to tell a story about increasing industrialism, imperialism and competition for global markets, as well as the deadly integration of new technologies into battle, such as tanks, airplanes, poison gas, submarines and machine guns.
In all of this, U.S. citizens are historical actors caught up in the same pressures and trends as everyone else across the globe.
The US school curriculum and World War I
These two trends within the field of historical inquiry are each reflected in the American school curriculum. In most states, both U.S. history and world history are required subjects. In this way, World War I becomes a fascinating case study of how the same event can be taught in different ways, for two different purposes.
To demonstrate this, I’ve pulled content standards from three large states, each from a different region of the United States – Michigan, California and Texas – to illustrate their treatment of World War I.
In U.S. history, the content standards of all three states place World War I within the rise of the United States as a world power. In all three sets of state standards, students are expected to learn about World War I in relationship to American expansion into such places as Puerto Rico, the Philippines and Hawaii. The ways in which the war challenged a tradition of avoiding foreign entanglements is given attention in each set of standards.
By contrast, the world history standards of all three states place World War I under its own heading, asking students to examine the war’s causes and consequences. All three sets of state standards reference large-scale historical processes as the causes of the war, including nationalism, imperialism and militarism. Sometimes the U.S. is mentioned, and sometimes it’s not.
And so, students are learning about World War I in two very different ways. In the more nationalistic U.S. history curriculum, the United States is the defender of global order and democracy. In the world history context, the United States is mentioned hardly at all, and impersonal global forces take center stage.
Whose history? Which America?
Scholars today continue to debate the wisdom of President Wilson’s moral diplomacy – that is, the moral and altruistic language (like making the world “safe for democracy”) that justified U.S. involvement in World War I. At the same time, a recent poll by the Pew Research Center has shown that the American public has deep concerns about the policy of promoting democracy abroad.
In an age when protectionism, isolationism and nationalism are seemingly on the rise, our country as a whole is questioning the relationship between the United States and the rest of the world.
This is the present-day context in which students are left to learn about the past – and, in particular, World War I. How might their study of this past shape their attitudes toward the present?
History teachers are therefore left with a dilemma: teach toward national or global citizenship? Is world history something that happened “over there,” or is it something that happens “right here,” too?
In my own view, it seems incomplete to teach just one of these conflicting views of World War I. Instead, I would recommend to history teachers that they explore competing perspectives of the past with their students.
How do Hungarians, for example, generally remember World War I? Or how about Germans? How about the Irish? Armenians? How do these perspectives compare to American memories? Where is fact and where is fiction?
Such a history class would encourage students to examine how the present and the past are connected – and might satisfy both nationalists and globalists alike.